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As Expected, the New York Times Tries to Give Obama and Liberals Credit for Iraq Success

As far as the folks at the New York Times are concerned, the success in Iraq is due to the efforts of Barack Obama and the liberals, at least that's what they are arguing. Take a look at Thomas Friedman's opinion piece from yesterday:

In the last year, though, the U.S. troop surge and the backlash from moderate Iraqi Sunnis against Al Qaeda and Iraqi Shiites against pro-Iranian extremists have brought a new measure of stability to Iraq. There is now, for the first time, a chance -- still only a chance -- that a reasonably stable democratizing government, though no doubt corrupt in places, can take root in the Iraqi political space.

That is the Iraq that Obama is inheriting. It is an Iraq where we have to begin drawing down our troops -- because the occupation has gone on too long and because we have now committed to do so by treaty -- but it is also an Iraq that has the potential to eventually tilt the Arab-Muslim world in a different direction.

I'm sure that Obama, whatever he said during the campaign, will play this smart. He has to avoid giving Iraqi leaders the feeling that Bush did -- that he'll wait forever for them to sort out their politics -- while also not suggesting that he is leaving tomorrow, so they all start stockpiling weapons.

If he can pull this off, and help that decent Iraq take root, Obama and the Democrats could not only end the Iraq war but salvage something positive from it. Nothing would do more to enhance the Democratic Party's national security credentials than that.


If Obama can pull this off? What's Friedman smoking? How does he think Obama inherited this successful Iraq? President Bush and our troops are who did all the work to get Iraq to where it is and they did so in the face of immense pressure from the liberals and the rest of the world to retreat. Compare this to Barack Obama, who, from the time he came into the US Senate, has done everything he can to lose this war. He and his fellow Democrats in the Senate voted against funding for the troops. They badmouthed the war. Harry Reid said it was lost on national television. Yet the Thomas Friedman at the New York Times says Obama and the liberals deserve the credit for its success.

Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee had the same reaction I did:

If he can pull this of?

And then he continued:
Let's be very clear, so that even a historical revisionist like Friedman can understand it.

House and Senate Democrats, including President Elect Barack Obama, did everything in their power to lose the Iraq War, and deserve no credit for any success.

How many times in the past two years have Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and their cohorts attempted to defund our troops and force them into defeat? Forty times? Fifty? Frankly, I lost count somewhere in the mid-forties.

Now Friedman and his fellow defeatists on the left who long derided those of us who wanted to secure victory as "28-percenters," "warmongers" and "murderers" want to try to rewrite history. The Times and their fellow travelers long to rewrite their moral cowardice as a virtue, and give themselves a victory by declaration.


Yep, that's how the Democrats work, isn't it? Not only do they let others do all the work but they also criticize along the way. Then when it's all said and done, they try to take all the credit.

Ace weighed in on this today as well:

The general pattern here is that after years of calling more or less explicitly for a cleansing defeat in Iraq, liberals are beginning to make the case that we shouldn't lose a war we've already won just to appease the netroots-- in other words, Bush was right.

But they didn't say that before. Only now that Obama has been elected to they admit it.

Partly because they are now willing to argue in the American interest rather than the liberal Democratic Party interest, and partly because politics continues well past the water's edge -- they want credit for a victory and won't permit the fallout from a defeat suffered on their watch.


Hat tip: Stop the ACLU


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Comments (22)

Friedman thinks he is the s... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Friedman thinks he is the smartest writer in the world whose opinions shape policy, just ask him.

"because they are now wi... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

"because they are now willing to argue in the American interest rather than the liberal Democratic Party interest",

What kind of assholes would put their parties interest before that of the nation?.......Oh wait, the ones that just won the whitehouse.

I'll remember to make sure and not question your patriotism.

This is a pile of **. I gu... (Below threshold)

This is a pile of **. I guess I'm naive. I didn't anticipate that the media would stoop this low. Amazing!
http://rightklik.blogspot.com/

Here is a summary of any MS... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Here is a summary of any MSM article for the next 35 years:

Bush = failure, Obama = success.

Get used to it.

I predict that Obama will b... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I predict that Obama will be given the Nobel Peace prize for freeing 50 million people from the yoke of tyranny in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will also be honored for his tireless work in reducing AIDS in Africa.

"Get used to it."</p... (Below threshold)

"Get used to it."

I don't have to get used to anything. Not while I still draw breath will anyone be allowed to forget that Obama, even after the surge was proving successful, said he STILL wouldn't have gone through with it.

"If he can pull this off, and help that decent Iraq take root,..."

Mr. Friedman, it's his to lose. It's already taken root. The roots began to grow January 30, 2005.

The question is how does Ob... (Below threshold)

The question is how does Obama and the democrats square all this with Code Pink and the rest of the far left. They been calling this an Illegal War(of course no basis in fact), demanding everyone involved be brought up on war crimes.(which war crimes who knows) They talk about how Bush Cherry picked intelligence (even though both houses reviewed all the same intelligence). They have allowed the rhetoric to so cloud facts, that Obama will be loosing parts of his radical base if he is till in Iraq in June,

That is why MSM and NYT must start to put a positive spin on Iraq.

BHO first lesson as an executive will be you cannot be all things to all people.

Remember, the last phase of... (Below threshold)

Remember, the last phase of all successful projects is "rewards to the non-participants."

"House and Senate Democrats... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"House and Senate Democrats, including President Elect Barack Obama, did everything in their power to lose the Iraq War, and deserve no credit for any success."

It's called the "thrill of defeat", and unfortunately, at the expense of the American people.

The NEW YORK SLIMES will pr... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

The NEW YORK SLIMES will probibly send out the biggist leftists propeganda makers to watch EMPORER PALPATINE OBAMAS corination next year

"Yep, that's how the Democr... (Below threshold)
JoeC:

"Yep, that's how the Democrats work, isn't it? Not only do they let others do all the work but they also criticize along the way. Then when it's all said and done, they try to take all the credit. "

Not quite classic "Little Red Hen".... but close.

The important thing now is ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

The important thing now is that Obama do the right thing- whatever is necessary to ensure a stable, peaceful Iraq.

The left (which includes most of the press, educators, and historians) will never give George Bush credit for any of his successes and all the good he's done anyway.

The sad, sick irony of all this is that the only reason Obama took the nomination from Clinton was his "loose the war immediately and at any cost" campaign promises. Now he may just do the right thing and the left will give him all the credit anyway.

The Status of Forces Agreem... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

The Status of Forces Agreement negotiated by the Bush Administration with the Iraqi government calls for US combat forces to be out of Iraqi cities by June 2009, and ALL of our troops to be gone by 2011. That's what, a difference of a few months from the 16-month timetable Obama campaigned on? That's hardly "losing the war".
Conservatives should come to grips with the fact that the war in Iraq was NEVER a good idea.
We can never know what "might have been", but it's entirely possible that Saddam would be gone by now if we had simply continued a policy of sanctions and containment. Hell, he might have died of old age by now!
It's also likely that 5 or 10 years from now, Iraq will again be in the hands of some tinpot dictator (perhaps Maliki himself will become one). If that happens, who will take "credit" for the 4,100 US lives lost? For the tens of thousands of Iraqi lives lost or ruined?

"The question is how does O... (Below threshold)
Dave Noble:

"The question is how does Obama and the democrats square all this with Code Pink and the rest of the far left."

I think the answer is they don't have to and they are not going to. I believe that is a valid conclusion based on Obama's centrist cabinet selections

I don't read the plain language of Friedman's editorial to give Obama credit for the current degree of success in Iraq. It should first be noted as point of background that Thomas Friedman was an advocate for the Iraq invasion, who later became a critic of the Bush Administration's mismanagement of the war.

Friedman clearly credits that Administration for the current relatively stable situation in Iraq and optimistically foresees Obama taking advantage of that situation to end the American occupation on a positive note.

As to whose it is to lose: There are surely things the new Administration could do to decrease stability in Iraq. However, I believe primarily it is the Iraqi people's and the Iraqi government's to lose.

We can't leave until victor... (Below threshold)
Brian:

We can't leave until victory is achieved. How did Bush define victory? Apparently as soon as the Republicans lost the White House. Just wake up the next day, and suddenly declare victory! Oh, or when Michael Yon says so. McCain says we may be there 100 years? Not to worry, because the Republicans have declared victory!

And no timelines for pulling out. Timelines bad. White flag of surrender, and all that. But right after election day, timelines good! Bush loves him a timeline! And one that looks almost exactly like the one proposed by the defeatocrats, too.

Peter Galbraith, a top Iraq expert and former ambassador to Croatia, issued a statement today on the status of forces agreement recently signed by the United States and Iraq...."The agreement represents a stunning and humiliating reversal of course by the Bush administration, which had vehemently opposed any timetable for withdrawal from Iraq," said Galbraith.

...
"For the last two years, President Bush has pretended that Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki is a democrat and an American ally. In fact, Maliki is a sectarian Shiite politician who heads a government dominated by pro-Iranian religious parties," remarked Galbraith. "The U.S. presence now no longer serves the interests of Iraq's ruling Shiite religious parties or their Iranian allies, so we are now being asked to leave."

I guess this is what victory looks like. Leaving Iraq with a pro-Iranian government that opposes everything Bush said we were going to achieve in Iraq.

But not to worry. When it all goes to hell again, I'm sure you'll blame Obama.

Brain,Mc... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Brain,

McCain says we may be there 100 years?

When was the end of the Spanish-American War? The US still has the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. We had bases in the Philippines until the mid 1990's
When did World War II end and when was Okinawa formerly return to the Government of Japan?
How many US Bases still exist on Okinawa and mainland Japan not to mention Germany?
The Cease fire from the Korean War is still in effect and we still have American Military bases in South Korea.
Everyone knew what McCain was speaking about and only political hacks with no historical perspective state otherwise.


We can't leave until victory is achieved. How did Bush define victory? Apparently as soon as the Republicans lost the White House. Just wake up the next day, and suddenly declare victory!

In this your premise is false. There have been many stories that state that Iraq has been going better over the last two years. However every time they appear the MSM either comes up with a new definition of victory or outright denies it. When it became hard for them to deny it they stated it had nothing to do with police that Bush had implemented. What is being stated is not that Victory is coming now that Bush is leaving office it that it was always there and now the MSM is now reporting it so that BHO gets credit.

And no timelines for pulling out. Timelines bad. White flag of surrender, and all that. But right after election day, timelines good! Bush loves him a timeline! And one that looks almost exactly like the one proposed by the defeatocrats, too.

Timelines given when the Enemy is wining is bad because it tells them to hunker down until we leave. In WWII did we tell the Germans and the Japanese that if we had not won by a date we would pull out? Did we say if we lost more than 4K troops on D-day that that it we would be going home? When you are in a position to enforce your will then timelines are ok for transfer of power not for defeat.

Peter Galbraith
Stated book predicated that there would not be any victory in Iraq and that the only way to do it was to split the country up by ethnic lines and if this did not happen there would never be peace. That was his stance in 2006. Since then he keeps saying every success is defeat.

I like how the Democrats ke... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

I like how the Democrats kept funding the war in order to not take any blame for anything and can now take the credit for the success.

It was a win/win for the Democrats.


How many US Bases still ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

How many US Bases still exist on Okinawa and mainland Japan not to mention Germany? ... Everyone knew what McCain was speaking about and only political hacks with no historical perspective state otherwise.

And only lazy people who can't be bothered to know what they're talking about would say something like that. But since you didn't bother reading the link...

The agreement also bars permanent American bases in Iraq, prohibits the United States from using Iraqi territory to launch attacks against other nations, and bars any residual U.S. forces in Iraq beyond the end of 2011.

Was that also what Japan and Germany agreed to?

However every time they appear the MSM either comes up with a new definition of victory

Oh, bull. The media has been asking Bush for years to define victory. He's always refused.

What is being stated is not that Victory is coming now that Bush is leaving office it that it was always there and now the MSM is now reporting it so that BHO gets credit.

More bull. As of May, even McCain didn't realize we had won.

Timelines given when the Enemy is wining is bad because it tells them to hunker down until we leave.... When you are in a position to enforce your will then timelines are ok for transfer of power not for defeat.

Spin, spin, spin. One month we have a long hard road ahead with timelines being the very definition of surrender, and *poof* after election day we've won and here are timelines. Now quick, everyone! Be true Republicans and go figure out the "but what we meant to say was..." revisionist explanation!

I'd have thought the election demonstrated that Americans aren't as stupid as Republicans wanted. Guess the message didn't get through.

Gezzus, Brian, David Corn i... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Gezzus, Brian, David Corn is your source? Credibility? Bordering on zero.

Anyway, let's get something real straight that the CACNP cleverly tries to ignore: No, SOFA doesn't represent a "stunning reversal" of Bush policy; SOFA validates it. Bush resisted DC-mandated timelines, not Iraq-requested timelines. The CACNP completely ignores that significant detail. For years Bush has said we will leave when the Iraqis request it. That day has come and that is a very good thing.

As for "permanent bases", well, outside of what the CACNp wrote on its cite, I see no major news source confirming that. (I do, however, know that US forces will be dropping back to bases in and around major Iraqi cities, and that has been reported.)

The fact that the SOFA "prohibits the United States from using Iraqi territory to launch attacks against other nations, and bars any residual U.S. forces in Iraq beyond the end of 2011" should be a good thing. (Besides, CENTCOM is in Qatar, a more than adequate base. And I'm sure we'll be increasing the size of th Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait in the lead up to Dec. 2011.)

Finally, I'm sorry, but your condensed timeline of "one month we have a long hard road ahead with timelines being the very definition of surrender, and *poof* after election day we've won and here are timelines" is far too flippantly dismissive and simplistic of the almost 2 years (the very beginning stages of the surge in Jan. 2007 to Nov/Dec 2008) it took to get to the point of having an agreed upon SOFA.

To wrap things up, W gets a W. More importantly,so does America in the war against Islamofascists. And the media can try and spin it like Obama was right about the timeline all along, but that dog won't hunt for those who've truly been paying attention.

Gezzus, Brian, David Cor... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Gezzus, Brian, David Corn is your source? Credibility? Bordering on zero.

No, he cites the CACNP, which you seem to later acknowledge, but here choose to ignore just so you can get your snark in. Feel better?

As for "permanent bases", well, outside of what the CACNp wrote on its cite, I see no major news source confirming that.

Of course not. That would involve you actually looking for one. Or you could read the agreement itself:

1. All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.

The fact that the SOFA "prohibits the United States from using Iraqi territory to launch attacks against other nations, and bars any residual U.S. forces in Iraq beyond the end of 2011" should be a good thing.

Right, because establishing a pro-Iranian government and then pulling out completely was the plan all along.

Finally, I'm sorry, but your condensed timeline of "one month we have a long hard road ahead with timelines being the very definition of surrender, and *poof* after election day we've won and here are timelines" is far too flippantly dismissive and simplistic of the almost 2 years

July: "White House spokesman Tony Fratto said specific withdrawal dates are not part of the talks."
November: Withdrawal dates!

To wrap things up, W gets a W.

On a scale where "A" is perfect and "F" is failure, "W" seems about right. Though there's still time for him to pull out an "X".

but that dog won't hunt for those who've truly been paying attention.

They're called "voters". And they've already told you what they think, but it's not what you think.

Of course not. That woul... (Below threshold)

Of course not. That would involve you actually looking for one. Or you could read the agreement itself:

First of all, don't be such a sarcastic prick. Outside of my slight against Corn and his highly dubious credibility in citing the CACNP as a source (a biased one at that), I was fairly civil in my response to you.

Onward...

Up until this point one of the many grand worries about Iraq was that it would become home to many US permanent bases. Now that that's not going to happen, not having a base is now a 'mistake' or a 'loss' by the US? Well, if we're to believe Corn and the CACNP that's exactly the case.

July: "White House spokesman Tony Fratto said specific withdrawal dates are not part of the talks."
November: Withdrawal dates!

Well, that was 5 months ago. A lot can happen in 5 months of negotiations--situations change, assessments are made, compiled and analyzed and compromises reached. Or is that not allowed?

There's also seems to be some wiggle room under Article 30 (and in other areas) of the SOFA should the situation deteriorate.

Here's the actual SOFA agreement itself, not someone's version of it.

Right, because establishing a pro-Iranian government and then pulling out completely was the plan all along.

Pro-Iranian gov't? Because Iraqi Shiites and Iranian Shiites share the same tribal name and some tribal traditions means the Iraqi government is somehow 'pro-Iranian'? Yes, Sadrists (Moqtada al Sadr) are "pro-Iranian", but there numbers aren't large enough to constitute any kind of significant minority w/i the IP. (I think there are roughly 30 some odd members in the IP, all of whom voted against SOFA and were soundly beaten, which, if anything, represents Sadr's significantly reduced political clout in the IP.) It's not a pro-Iranian gov't by a longshot.

They're called "voters". And they've already told you what they think, but it's not what you think.

And this means what exactly? That the voters were somehow 'right' on Iraq? You think THAT is what the election was about? I think you're smart enough to know it was the economy going into the shitter in October was the real difference maker. Oh, and the always intellectually deep "He's just like George Bush!" slogan used by every Democratic campaign from Calif to Maine. (Hint: The Dems better look for a new campaign slogan in '10 and '12.)

On a scale where "A" is perfect and "F" is failure, "W" seems about right. Though there's still time for him to pull out an "X".

Your painful cleverness aside, how much does it bother you that, while it has taken a great deal to get to this point, the US is seeing a fantastic turnaround in Iraq? Did you want your country pull back, admit failure to our enemies and to let Iraq dip into bloody chaos? Even if you were against the war, is that the morally right thing to do?

While I'm extremely hesitant to use the word 'victory' regarding Iraq, I'm quite comfortable using the word 'success'.

President Bush and... (Below threshold)
Smiles:
President Bush and our troops are who did all the work to get Iraq to where it is and they did so in the face of immense pressure from the liberals and the rest of the world to retreat.

It wasn't until the liberals made it clear that America would not be there indefinitely did the Iraqis get off their ass and start defending there country.




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